Friday, November 23, 2007

Borda Counts, JRoll, and Ted Williams

An email from KPC friend RL, in Toronto:

JRoll is the MVP of the NL!!!

The results of the modified Borda count are on MLB.com. Borda designed his method solely for "honest individuals" because it is easy to give a boost to your favorite pick by lowering your estimation of the other candidates. Indeed this is what happened infamously decades ago when two NYC sportswriters left Ted Williams off the ballot, giving Joe DiMaggio the AL MVP.

This could have happened in 2007. If two voters who thought Matt Holliday of the Rockies deserved to win left Rollins off the ballot instead of giving him a second place vote (worth 9 points), Holliday would have won by a single point. Instead, all 32 ballots included both Rollins and Holliday.

In 2007, either the stakes were less or the sportswriters were a bit more honest. Holliday won 18 second place votes. Only three sportwriters listed him worse than second. Oddly, one did give him a 6th place vote (worth 5 points). One (the same Rollins fan?) gave Prince Fielder an 8th place vote (worth only three points). The four extra points Holliday might have received if this voter placed him second would obviously not have been enough to name Holliday MVP. Consensus that Rollins deserved to be one of the top two vote-getters was less clear. This could be indicative of strategic efforts to lower Rollins' vote totals, but this is unlikely: all 32 voters rated him no worse than 5th.


You can check the totals, and see that RL is quite correct. Interesting.

1 comment:

RL in Toronto said...

Did a check and it looks like it was one sportswriter that left Williams off the ballot.
... And as a postscript, had MLB used a regular, unmodified Borda count, Holliday wins. Even though Rollins (with 16/32 first place votes) was at least tied for Condorcet winner and probably was the Condorcet winner (with the vote of one Fielder supporter).